Wasps are one of the feared insects as their sting is incredibly painful. They do provide some benefits to us such as eating crop-destroying bugs, and this has led to some advising us not to try and destroy them. They also help to pollinate many plants which has gotten more attention with the declining bee colonies.
While there are those two important reasons to leave a wasp nest alone, there are many other reasons you do not want one in your backyard. A wasp nest in your yard can get easily disturbed and a disturbed nest makes angry wasps which mean stings. Before you begin an attempt to remove the nest identify that it is a wasp and not a honeybee. The Illinois Department of Public Health can help you identify the different types of wasps and bees. If you are dealing with a honey bee; you will want a beekeeper come and remove them as their populations are in serious trouble.
Once you have determined your problem is with the wasp you will need to know how to safely get rid of them. A lot of pesticides used to control them are strong enough to have adverse effects on your pets. We also tend to use to much in our eagerness to get rid of the wasp when in fact a little of it will go a long way. If you do resort to a commercial pesticide; make sure you use only the recommended amounts and you must also remove any dead wasps you find in your yard. There are some natural insecticides you can use that will pose far less risks:
Ecosmart’s Organic Wasp and Hornet Killer
This organic spray uses all food-grade ingredients that will not cause the harm a commercial pesticide will. It contains:
- Peppermint Oil
- Phenethyl Propionate
- White Mineral Oil
- Canola Oil
- Wintergreen Oil
- Carbon Dioxide
The instructions on the label for this spray are much the same as you would find on a poisonous one; so this is an organic option to treat your wasp problem without the same high risks of affecting more than just the wasp. It will have quite a strong smell- that is not a bad thing.
Using Soap to Destroy Nest
The soapy water will work as insects all have their skeletons on the outside of their body. The cohesive property of water will prevent the water from entering their exoskeleton but the soap breaks down the tension of the water and it literally drowns them.
- Use a dish washing liquid in a hose end sprayer. About one-fourth cup soap and fill the rest with water.
- Get the water mixed up and sudsy.
- Spray the nest from as far away as you can get and maintain a strong blast. It is recommended you perform this in the evening as the wasps will all return to the hive at night.
- Take down and drown a nest that is suspended.
Eartheasy.com suggests drowning wasp nests. When the nest is suspended, take a cloth bag and put it over the entire nest. Quickly bring the cloth up and over the nest. While you are drawing the cloth together, begin pulling it free from whatever they have attached it to and securely close it on the top. Make sure you have tightened the cloth securely as you are definitely going to have angry wasps enclosed and you do not want them to escape. Fully submerge the cloth covered nest under water, placing a weight on the top to ensure it stays submerged.
Block off Underground Nests
If you have discovered an underground nest you can block the entry and kill the colony. This is best done at night when you know they are all inside and you won’t be threatened by returning or leaving wasps.
Hang a Fake Wasp Nest
Wasps are territorial and generally will not build their nest if another is close by. Hang a false or fake nest wherever it is you see wasps beginning to gather or start a nest. This can be an abandoned nest from a previous year or there are fake nests available for purchase that look a lot like a paper lantern.
You can reduce your wasp population with the use of glass wasp traps. To ensure your success with these you have to make sure the bait is fresh. Wasps prefer a savory bait over a sweet bait. Try using tuna in your trap and you will attract a lot more to come.
Glass traps can be purchased and are quite attractive, or you can make your own from items in your home. An inexpensive version would be plastic bottle or water bottle:
- Cut the neck off of a plastic bottle.
- Flip the neck upside-down (without the cap) into the bottle.
- Tape, staple or somehow secure the top together so it stays as one piece. Remember you will need to clean out the dead wasps so do not make it to permanent.
- Place bait in bottom of bottle down far enough so that the wasps have to completely enter the bottle to reach it.
- Make holes on either side of the bottle and run string through, then hang it up where you have noticed wasps being a problem. Once the wasp enters the bottle it will not be able to get back out. To further ensure they fall in you can spread petroleum jelly or cooking oil inside the edges of the upside down top.
- Once you are sure all the wasps inside are dead, remove them. If unsure pour some hot soapy water into the bottle before opening it. It is a good idea to dispose of the dead wasps by either flushing them down the toilet or burying them as their bodies will release a chemical smell that will alert other wasps of their fate.
Common Wasp Baits Include the Following:
- Water with a small amount of dish washing soap added.
- Vinegar with a little sugar added.
- Grapes you have smashed.
- Lemon juice mixed with small amount of sugar.
- One teaspoon laundry soap, one teaspoon sugar and water
Don’t place the traps where you will outside as you don’t want to get in their path to the trap. Set it off to the side somewhere there is no traffic by you or your family and draw them away from you.
Keep Them out of Your House
Wasps have specially designed eyes as most flying insects do. Hang a plastic sandwich bag filled with water and a penny from your doorway. It is said this will look like a spider to them which is a natural danger and one they will stay away from. Others say it is the reflection of the water that is to hard on their sensitive eyes.
As a rule the wasp is not going to nest to close to your home and they will not become aggressive unless they think there is a threat. If they do decide to get to close for comfort; however, then you have no choice but to get rid of them. Hopefully these tips will help you to get rid of wasps.